Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Audiobooks, my new addiction

I remember when I was a child, my mother reading to . One of my most vivid memories is of lying in her bed listening as she read from one of the many books we always had in a pile next to the bed. I don't remember the title of the book. All I remember was suddenly awakening and being very frightened. I guess I had fallen asleep as she read, her voice calm and soothing. The abrupt waking scared me so badly I remember it some 35 years later.

Why do I mention this memory today? It all has to do with listening to books and stories. The only negative memory I have of listening to books is the one above, which is not so much negative as powerful. I have always loved listening to stories, especially by wonderful storytellers like Donald Davis and Barbara McBride-Smith, both of whom I have had the pleasure to hear in person.

The Belgariad
by David Eddings
When I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I decided we would read our favorite books to each other. We knew it was important to read to our baby and what better way to begin bonding than by sharing our favorite books with each other aloud. Well, Walter started. He was going to read The Belgariad by David Eddings. I honest tried listening to him read this, one of his favorite books. However I would immediately fall asleep. In my defense, Walter has an extremely tranquilizing voice. He could have been a hypnotist attempting to pacify me into a deep sleep. It worked every single time he picked up the book. Needless to say, this we never finished the book. (Years later Walter did share this book aloud with Timothy - our son - who thoroughly enjoyed it as much as his father.)

If you have read my previous post, you will remember I recently began using Overdrive, an amazing service provided by our local library. It not only has Audiobooks, but also eBooks, which can be checked out. Walter had been listening to books he checked out from our library on his daily hour and a half roundtrip commute. I don't have to drive far at all to get to work, but I decided a ten minutes of listening to a book is better than losing that ten minutes to not reading, so that is when I checked out Billy Crystal's book Still Foolin' Em. As soon as I finished listening to it I checked out another autobiography. I went from one Saturday Night Live personality to another, Tina Fey. Her Bossypants was a great book, again because the author's narration brought so much to the presentation.

I have always enjoyed Tina Fey. I loved her on Weekend Update and was completely blown away by her portrayal of Sarah Palin. I hate to admit I never watched 30 Rock. After listening to her book, I think I need to go back and watch the series.

Again, as soon as I finished listening to Fey's autobiography I was back on to the Overdrive app to find another book.
Ali in Wonderland and Other Tall Tales
by Ali Wentworth
This time it was Ali Wentworth's  Ali in Wonderland and Other Tall Tales.

I'm not sure what initially drew me to Ali Wentworth. I do, however remember how shocked I was to learn that she was married to the political correspondent we watch on the ABC Evening News. They just did not seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly or chips and salsa. He has always seemed so stuffy and political where she seemed over the top and hysterical. Well, I guess opposites truly do attract.

On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave
by Candace Fleming
Listening to Ali tell her stories was fabulous. It was almost like sitting down with her for a personal conversation. She has no inhibitions. She tells everything like it is in her life. I'm fairly certain I would not have enjoyed this book as much had I simply read it from cover to cover. Hearing her read the words provided for a much more pleasurable experience. Her tales were interesting, informative, and most of all funny. When it ended, I wanted more.

I attempted to find more, but was not successful. So, if I couldn't have funny, I might as well, since it it October, go for something scary. I found Candace Flemings's On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave. Written for young adults, but please don't get caught up in the genre, no matter what your age, this is a phenomenal book. The book revolves around a cemetery for the young, who have been buried here from 1800 to present time.

A young man, Mike, is directed to a forgotten cemetery for teens who have died. Each story is told in a different voice providing the listener a better connection to the ghost. At the end of the book, the author provides a little background information concerning the setting and plotbase for each story. Some of the stories are based on historical information collected from the author, others are simply fantastical tales woven in the authors imagination. Personally, I would have preferred more of the historically acurate tales. I was a bit preplexed when listening to the more sci-fi stories, as I was expecting the author to follow the authentic ghost tale format. The classical stories fit better into the setting of the graveyard for teenagers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys ghost stories.